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Jennifer's 2020 Reading (japaul22)

Club Read 2020

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1japaul22
Dec 29, 2019, 11:16am Top

Hi everyone! I'm back again to share my reading and get inspired by all of your reading threads. My name is Jennifer and I live outside of Washington D.C. I have two kids, boys ages 10 and 7. I play the french horn in the U.S. Marine Band.

I've settled into a great groove of reading over the past decade. I like the classics and use the 1001 books list to push my reading out of my comfort zone. I also read new fiction where I tend towards "literary fiction" by women authors. I also usually have a nonfiction book on the go, usually historical biography or cultural studies. To lighten things up, I read the occasional mystery or historical fiction.

Thanks for visiting my thread! I look forward to all of the book discussion to come!

2japaul22
Edited: Feb 8, 12:46pm Top

First up in the new year will be the January group reads I've committed to below. I also have my eye on Nana by Zola. I don't have any year-long projects. I read Pilgrimage by Dorothy Richardson in 2019, and In Search of Lost Time by Proust in 2018 so I think I need a break from year-long reads!

Reading Plans for 2020:
January - The Diviners group read, The Bertrams group read, A House and Its Head group litsy read
February - Wolf Hall reread
March - Bring up the Bodies reread
April - The Mirror and the Light, Lady Audley's Secret
April-June The Golden Notebook group read
May - La Reine Margot group read
June/July - Castle Richmond
September - The Magic Mountain group read
October - Murder Must Advertise group read
November - The Nine Tailors group read

3japaul22
Dec 29, 2019, 11:17am Top

These lists are to help me pick books when I don't have a "next book" in mind. They will also give you an idea of the kinds of books I enjoy.

Contemporary Authors that I follow (i.e. I'll probably read any new novel they put out and am reading any backlog I haven't gotten to yet):
Hilary Mantel
Kate Atkinson
Eleanor Catton
Eowyn Ivey
Amor Towles
Tana French
Marilynne Robinson
Hannah Tinti
Barbara Kingsolver
Ann Patchett
Kamila Shamsie
Chimamanda Adichie
Margaret Atwood
Madeline Miller

Series/Mysteries that I follow:
Robert Galbraith, Cormoran Strike mysteries
Tana French
Jane Harper
C.J. Sansom
Sharon Kay Penman

Classic authors I love (reading novels I haven't read yet or rereads):
Jane Austen
the Brontes
Virginia Woolf
George Eliot
Trollope
Thomas Mann
Doestoevsky
Tolstoy
Haldor Laxness
Sigrid Undset
Faulkner
Zola
Scandinavian classics

5japaul22
Dec 29, 2019, 11:18am Top

Welcome everyone! I will continue on my 2019 club read thread til the new year. I'm hoping to finish two more books that I'll review there.

6ELiz_M
Dec 29, 2019, 2:09pm Top

>2 japaul22: Now I'm curious -- what group(s) have their reads planned for the year? I'm particularly interested in September's read of The Magic Mountain!

7japaul22
Dec 29, 2019, 2:39pm Top

>6 ELiz_M: the 2020 category challenge is where most of those take place. There is a link to the group read planning thread on the group home page. I suggested The Magic Mountain so I’ll start up the thread. You should join us!

8arubabookwoman
Dec 29, 2019, 3:31pm Top

Hi Jennifer-my life is settling down and I’m back on LT and hoping to participate more. I will be following your reading. I was going to ask about the interesting list of group reads, but I see you responded to Liz. I’m especially interested in the Hilary Mantel trilogy, which would all be new to me, and also interested in rereading The Magic Mountain and The golden Notebook.
What is your name over on Litsy? Would love to follow you there. I’m Arubabookwoman over there too.

9japaul22
Dec 29, 2019, 4:20pm Top

>8 arubabookwoman: Yes, the Category Challenge group often has good group reads. Here is a link to our discussion thread for planning the group reads. Whoever suggested the group read will set up the discussion thread for the month. All are welcome to join - you don't need to be a category challenge member.

https://www.librarything.com/topic/312268

My Litsy name is JenniferP. I believe I followed you over there, recognizing your name from LT, but I'll check again. My activity on Litsy has been hit or miss, but I'm getting more into it.

10baswood
Dec 29, 2019, 6:16pm Top

>2 japaul22: Some good choices for the group reads imo. Two of my favourites there - The Golden Notebook and The Magic Mountain. Enjoy

11lisapeet
Dec 29, 2019, 7:56pm Top

I love that you’re rereading Mantel’s other books in the Cromwell series before The Mirror and the Light comes out. I’m not sure I’ll have a chance to do that but... ohhhh man I’m stoked for that third one!

12dchaikin
Dec 31, 2019, 1:31pm Top

Hi. Wishing you a happy new year a bit early. Love your plans. The Golden Notebooks appeals. Maybe I’ll check out the group in the spring (I’ve already overbooked January...)

13BLBera
Jan 1, 10:07am Top

Happy New Year, Jennifer. I look forward to following your reading again this year.

14NanaCC
Jan 1, 10:29am Top

Happy New Year, Jennifer! I’ll be following along. I’m looking forward to The Mirror and the Light. I hadn’t thought about rereading the first two books. I’ll have to consider it.

**touchstones don’t seem to be working this morning.

15lauralkeet
Jan 1, 10:44am Top

Happy New Year, Jennifer! I pre-ordered The Mirror and the Light and can't wait to read it. It looks like I'm not the only one!

16AlisonY
Jan 1, 12:30pm Top

Dropping off my star - Happy New Year Jennifer!

17Simone2
Jan 3, 11:52am Top

Hi Jennifer, Wishing you all the best for 2020 and love to follow your reading again, on LT and Litsy!

18lyzard
Jan 3, 4:41pm Top

Hi, Jennifer - Happy New Reading Year!

I'm delighted you'll be joining us for The Bertrams. At the moment I'm planning on setting up the thread over the weekend of the 11th / 12th (so that some of the new year craziness has had a chance to recede); I hope that suits you?

19japaul22
Jan 3, 4:58pm Top

>18 lyzard: That sounds perfect, thanks!

20avaland
Jan 4, 6:55am Top

Hoping to keep an eye again on your reading this year!

21kidzdoc
Jan 4, 1:32pm Top

Happy New Year, Jennifer! I also plan to read The Mirror and the Light in April.

22karspeak
Jan 5, 7:08pm Top

Hi, Jennifer, I starred your thread so I can lurk, as usual:)

23japaul22
Jan 7, 4:05pm Top

#1 Nana by Émile Zola

Wow. That was quite the way to start the year. Nana is Zola's exploration of the world of prostitution and decadence. Nana is a young girl when the book opens, making her debut in the theater. There is tons of buzz about her - everyone knows she'll be a flop in terms of acting and singing, but nevertheless she is a sensation. Why? Because she's beautiful and sensual. Men go mad for her.

Nana is the little girl that we meet in L'Assomoir, daughter to a drunken father and growing up in poverty, who ends up on the streets as a common prostitute. She is "discovered" by the upper class and ends up attracting and destroying the lives and fortunes of every wealthy man in her circle. They cannot resist her and Zola doesn't mince words describing why. He details their sex lives and her attractions and willingness with surprising candor and detail for a 19th century novel.

The writing here is fantastic. The opening party scenes are fabulous and struck me as having influenced Proust's famous drawing room scenes. And the detail about Nana and her escapades and the gruesome endings are unforgettable. I will say, though, that I didn't think this was up to the level of Germinal or L'Assomoir, the other two Zola books I've read. I think it was the topic - it just didn't have the gravitas of those other works. And I got a little tired of reading about these wealthy men who just let Nana run all over them and waste away their fortunes, health, and happiness.

I will try to get to one more Zola book this year, probably La Bête Humaine which is on the 1001 books to read before you die list.

Original publication date: 1880
Author’s nationality: French
Original language: French
Length: 427 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: kindle
Why I read this: 1001 books

24kidzdoc
Jan 7, 4:45pm Top

Nice review of Nana, Jennifer. I see that my late "book sister", rebeccanyc, loved it as well, so I'll read it soon.

25japaul22
Jan 7, 5:02pm Top

>24 kidzdoc: Yes, I'm sure I was turned on to Zola from rebeccanyc's reviews. I always think of her when I read Zola. Have you read any Zola yet? If you're going to read one, Germinal is really the best.

26kidzdoc
Jan 7, 5:08pm Top

>25 japaul22: I haven't read anything by Zola, and, like you, Rebecca was the person who encouraged me to read him. I purchased a copy of Germinal because of her, so I'll start with that book first; thanks for the reminder!

27arubabookwoman
Jan 9, 12:36am Top

I’m hoping to finish my Zola journey this year, which I started even before rebeccanyc, but which I stalled on more than 5 years ago. I’m on The Masterpiece.
If you liked Nana I highly recommend Cousin Bette by Balzac. It’s themes and subject matter are similar to Nana, and overall I think I liked it slightly more.
>25 japaul22: >26 kidzdoc: I agree the best place to start with Zola is Germinal. You will then know if you want to read more. I feel that if the first Zola I read had been the first volume of the Rougon Macquart series I wouldn’t have read any more Zola. It is my least favorite Zola.

28dchaikin
Jan 11, 7:30pm Top

I suspect Zola is the most read author here in CR these last five years (would be interesting to find out). R-nyc affect. Enjoyed your review. I haven't read Zola despite all the inspiration, but then I'm still working my way back through the 20th century. I have one Zola copy in the house, a old edition of Nana, probably printed in 1937 (book doesn't say)...and probably bowdlerized...

29AlisonY
Jan 13, 3:48am Top

I also need to get into Zola. I don't ever see his work in the secondhand bookshop, but if nothing appears soon I'll order Germinal from the library.

30japaul22
Jan 13, 12:06pm Top

#2 The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett's latest book follows the lives of a brother and sister, Danny and Maeve Conroy, who grow up outside Philadelphia in a unique, old house called the Dutch House. The VanHoebeeks, the original owners, still hang on the wall and the house is full of glass windows and old-school charm. What happens in the house is not so lovely. Danny and Maeve's father has built a quick fortune and his wife is not ready to live a life of luxury. Maeve and Danny grow up basically parent-less. This creates a strong bond between the two that is the crux of the book.

I liked this book a lot. I don't think it's quite as memorable or unique as my favorite Ann Patchett books (State of Wonder and Bel Canto), but I enjoyed reading this. I love a book that has a house as a character and Patchett gets really close to achieving this, though it could have been done a little more thoroughly for my liking.

Recommended if you already like Patchett's books, but I'd start with one of my favorites if it's your first.

Original publication date: 2019
Author’s nationality: American
Original language: English
Length: 337 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: library hardback
Why I read this: new book from an author I like

31AlisonY
Jan 13, 1:36pm Top

>30 japaul22: Caroline gave this one high praise on her thread, so I've had it on my radar. Mind you, I've not read any Ann Patchett books yet. I'll see what turns up first in the secondhand book store!

32rocketjk
Jan 13, 1:52pm Top

Just dropping in to offer a belated Happy New Year. Looking forward to how you get on with Zola and your other authors this year. Cheers!

33dchaikin
Edited: Jan 13, 3:04pm Top

>30 japaul22: This is on the Tournament of Books and so other reason I might follow that. I like Patchett, but have only read two novels, Bel Canto being one. She’s just a nice writer, whatever she writes about. (Her essay collection is terrific)

34NanaCC
Jan 13, 3:47pm Top

>30 japaul22: I have this one on my wishlist, and can’t remember who put it there. I’ll have to get to it eventually. I loved Bel Canto.

35kidzdoc
Jan 13, 4:00pm Top

Nice review of The Dutch House, Jennifer. Do you know if it's based on an actual house, and if so, what town it's in? My parents live just north of Philadelphia, so I would be curious where it is.

36japaul22
Jan 13, 4:54pm Top

>35 kidzdoc: the house is in Elkins Park and Jenkintown figures in as well. I don’t think it’s a real house but I’m not positive.

37kidzdoc
Edited: Jan 13, 5:05pm Top

>36 japaul22: Thanks, Jennifer. The SEPTA commuter train I take from Center City to my parents' house in Langhorne whenever I visit them passes through Elkins Park and stops in Jenkintown, so that is close to where they live. I'll have to investigate this further.

38lauralkeet
Jan 13, 5:39pm Top

I'm glad to see you enjoyed The Dutch House, Jennifer. I did too, and like you I'm a Patchett fan and will read pretty much anything she writes.

I don't think the house is real either, I'd say it's more symbolic than historical. Although there are certainly lots of old mansions around Philly that could have been models or inspiration for it.

39japaul22
Jan 13, 7:13pm Top

>38 lauralkeet: Darryl's question gave me pause because there are so many old, beautiful houses there, but I looked further and found an interview where she says it's not based on any one house.

40BLBera
Jan 13, 7:25pm Top

>30 japaul22: I'm still waiting for my turn with this one, Jennifer. I think I'm now # 8 on the list. I am also a Patchett fan. I loved both State of Wonder and Bel Canto, but Run was also good.

41kidzdoc
Jan 13, 7:49pm Top

>39 japaul22: I also read an interview with Ann Patchett in The Philadelphia Inquirer which implied that the Dutch House wasn't real. She did spend a lot of time in Elkins Park and Jenkintown visiting a college friend, and that's why she chose to set her novel there.

42japaul22
Jan 28, 2:41pm Top

#3 The Bertrams by Anthony Trollope

I always love reading Trollope, and even more so when lyzard leads a group read. I was particularly grateful that I read this one with the group read, because, being one of Trollope's earlier and more obscure novels, I needed some help to get the most out of it.

Like many of Trollope's books, this centers around money and marriage and what is deemed a success when it comes to the two. There are two would-be couples, George and Caroline and Arthur and Adela and there are plenty of obstacles (real and perceived) to them getting together. This book also includes some travel and the remote settings of Cairo and Jerusalem. There is, of course, a rich old man and everyone is waiting to see when he will die and what his will contains.

Overall I enjoyed this. It shows the germination of some themes that Trollope will later develop. It's certainly not his best work, but I'm glad I read it.

Original publication date: 1859
Author’s nationality: British
Original language: English
Length: 496 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: kindle
Why I read this: group read

43japaul22
Edited: Jan 30, 6:58pm Top

#4 A House and Its Head by Ivy Compton-Burnett

This 1930s book explores the troubled family life of the Edgeworths, headed by Duncan, a controlling and rude father. There are two grown girls, Nance and Sybil, who live at home and an orphaned cousin who will inherit the family property through an entailment. But then the mother dies, and Duncan remarries. The mother's death seems to set off a spiral downward of behavior in the family and drama ensues. It's pretty dark and no one comes out particularly well.

This book consists almost entirely of dialogue, a choice I found fatiguing. Though the characters certainly do reveal themselves through their conversations, I found myself wanting some descriptive passages. Overall, this book didn't really work for me.

Original publication date: 1935
Author’s nationality: British
Original language: English
Length: 287 pages
Rating: 2.5 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: nyrb
Why I read this: group read on litsy

44wandering_star
Jan 30, 8:11pm Top

>30 japaul22: State of Wonder and Bel Canto are my two favourite Patchetts too! Commonwealth is also excellent.

45japaul22
Feb 9, 1:21pm Top

#5 Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

Despite not liking her memoir Oranges are not the only fruit, something about the description of this new novel by Winterson drew my attention. I'm so glad I read it. This is a smart, timely novel that is a great balance of progressive ideas, humor, and history.

Winterson parallels the story of Mary Shelley's creation of the novel, Frankenstein, and the friends vacationing together in Switzerland with a modern-day setting exploring robots (more specifically sexbots!), artificial intelligence, and a transgender character. The parallels are subtly drawn but also gave me a lot to think about. I loved that there wasn't any preachiness to her ideas about the current state of human affairs or where we might be headed. It seemed more like an exploration of what could be - or not.

I also loved the transgender character whose feelings were explored but again not preached about. It was nice to see novel include a transgender character where that topic didn't have to be the whole motive of the novel.

Anyway, I really liked this and it was just what I was in the mood for. Well thought out and great connections, but not at all overwrought.

Original publication date: 2019
Author’s nationality: British
Original language: English
Length: 343 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: library
Why I read this: LT reviews

46SassyLassy
Feb 11, 9:55am Top

For some reason, I only just now found your 2020 thread. Looking forward to it as usual.

>23 japaul22: What a way to start your reading year! I am a big fan of Nana, and differ slightly from you in feeling that beneath the sensationalism, there was a real condemnation of the men in her life for exactly the reasons you suggest make them so tiresome. I also thought that bringing out Nana's relationships with other women with such clarity was unusual for the time. Have you read La Dame aux Camélias, another author's take on the mistress? Looking forward to your reading of La Bête Humaine.

>2 japaul22: I see you're reading Lady Audley's Secret with the Virago Chronological Read project. Looking forward to it.

47dchaikin
Edited: Feb 11, 1:30pm Top

>45 japaul22: oh, enjoyed your review. This book is such great fun. I put it down and forgot all the philosophical bits right away and thought maybe the book would just disappear. But it still puts me in a good me just to think about (and also to read a review on it). Glad you enjoyed.

(ETA - “put it down” actually means, the audiobook finished.)

48markon
Feb 11, 2:21pm Top

>45 japaul22:: Thanks for reminding me of this one. I missed it over the holidays, so I'm going to get a copy of the audiobook.

49japaul22
Feb 12, 1:16pm Top

#6 The Hills Reply by Tarjei Vesaas, translated by Elizabeth Rokkan
This is Norwegian author Tarjei Vessas's last work and he has created a book in poetic prose that explores nature and life experience. The book is a series of vignettes or short stories (not sure what to call them) and there is not much plot or characters to ground the reader. The language is beautiful and some of the scenes are very memorable. I particularly enjoyed the scene with a young girl being buried in snow while waiting for a young man and the scene where a man is swept away in a river and almost drowned. In all of the vignettes, nature and landscape is prevalent and humans fit into the scenery.

This is a slim book, but is dense and takes some concentration to read. I appreciated it, but can't say it was as enjoyable for me as his other books that I've read - The Birds and The Ice Palace, both of which I loved.

Original publication date: 1969
Author’s nationality: Norwegian
Original language: Norwegian
Length: 275 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: purchased archipelago edition
Why I read this: love the author and this is a newly reissued publication that caught my eye

50AlisonY
Feb 13, 4:24am Top

>49 japaul22: I enjoyed The Birds. I must keep an eye out for The Ice Palace as well.

51japaul22
Feb 13, 5:31pm Top

#7 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
This was my third time reading this and I love it every time. I read it in preparation for The Mirror and the Light, the third and final book of this trilogy, which comes out in March. I'm going to read Bring up the Bodies sometime next month.

If you like historical fiction and Tudors, do give these books a try!

Original publication date: 2010
Author’s nationality: British
Original language: English
Length: 604 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: kindle edition
Why I read this: reread

52RidgewayGirl
Feb 13, 6:55pm Top

>51 japaul22: I loved Wolf Hall and am very much looking forward to the conclusion of the trilogy, but I'm just going to admire your rereading of the book instead of doing so myself.

53AnnieMod
Feb 13, 6:58pm Top

>51 japaul22: >52 RidgewayGirl:

I considered rereading it and even pulled it on my kindle - and then realized that I still remember it quite well - and not just because I know the story. For a book I read in 2009, that is surprising... :)

54wandering_star
Feb 13, 7:25pm Top

>51 japaul22: I re-read Wolf Hall before reading Bring Up the Bodies and was surprised by how different the experience was the second time around. I enjoyed it just as much, but I noticed completely different elements of the story (eg Cromwell's relationship with his son, which I didn't remember at all from the first read). I'm curious what your experience was reading it for the third time.

55BLBera
Feb 13, 7:56pm Top

I'm glad you enjoyed Frankissstein, Jennifer. It was one of my favorites last year. Winterson is such a smart writer - there's always so much to think about in her books.

I am determined to get to Wolf Hall this year. I don't know why I've waited so long. Well, I do, too many books, but really I want to read it.

The Hills Reply also sounds very good.

Great comments.

56japaul22
Edited: Feb 13, 8:02pm Top

>54 wandering_star: I read Wolf Hall in 2010 right around when it came out and I knew I liked it, but I had a newborn baby who was not sleeping at all, and I knew I missed a lot. So I reread it in 2012 when Bring up the Bodies came up. This time, I did remember a lot so there weren't any surprises, and I even remembered scenes and conversations in a lot of detail. That is honestly, pretty rare for me - I have a horrible memory for books.

I noticed a lot of things this time. I love the humor and the contrast she set up between what she reveals of Cromwell's interior thoughts and how the other characters see him. I LOVE how she writes the women in the book. Her portrait of Mary Boleyn is wonderful. I also enjoy the small details about life in the era - the food, the housing, etc. I also caught a lot of subtle foreshadowing about Cromwell's trajectory. Everyone knows what happens, but I'm not sure I caught her setting it up as clearly as I did this time. Even while he's at the height of his power.

I really love Mantel's writing and I love that she was confident enough to make Cromwell and more well-known figures like More, Anne Boleyn, and Henry VIII her own.

57lisapeet
Feb 13, 9:37pm Top

Wow... now I'm thinking I ought to reread it and Bring Up the Bodies again. I don't reread much but I loved those two so well, and of course am so hot for the third one—that would certainly be a way of doing it justice.

58AlisonY
Feb 14, 3:50am Top

I've not read any of this series (in fact I've only read one Mantel novel). I think I need to get to it. For some reason I keep avoiding it.

59NanaCC
Feb 14, 11:55am Top

Oh, that is a big push for me to reread Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. I really loved them, but had no intention of rereading them before the new book. These comments have me thinking I might change my mind if I can find the time.

60japaul22
Feb 14, 12:21pm Top

>59 NanaCC: I was surprised when I looked back at how long it's been. Bring up the Bodies came out in 2012! So it's been 8 years - no wonder it has felt like a long wait for the final book - it was!

61japaul22
Feb 15, 7:56am Top

#8 The Anarchy by William Dalrymple
I think I'm calling it on this one and stopping about 2/3 through. This is a dense nonfiction account of the British East India Company and its takeover of India. As an example of a corporate takeover (rather than a country/government/military taking over and colonizing a country), its interesting, important, and relevant. However, the long and confusing chapters on the in-fighting between the various factions native to the region on top of the fighting with the East India Company has left me hopelessly confused.

I was hoping for more of a social history, detailing how the corporation changed India and the ethics of a corporation driving this takeover. While I think this might still be coming, after reading about 350 pages about warring factions and not finding any sort of human connection yet to the participants, I just have to call it a day.

I'm still counting this since I did spend a ton of time on it and read over 300 pages. I don't want to put everyone off of it - it gets great reviews and was on Barack Obama's list of favorites from 2019 - but I just can't.

Original publication date: 2019
Author’s nationality: British
Original language: English
Length: 576 pages
Rating: 2 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: kindle edition
Why I read this: interested in the topic

62lauralkeet
Feb 15, 3:10pm Top

>61 japaul22: Jennifer, have you read Dalrymple's White Mughals? I read it ages ago and remember liking it, but not enough to be tempted by another book in a similar vein. It was much more about the society though, so if you haven't read it you might want to consider it.

63japaul22
Feb 15, 4:15pm Top

>62 lauralkeet: I haven't read that. I'll keep it in mind though not quite ready to attempt it right now!

64japaul22
Feb 15, 7:49pm Top

#9 Akin by Emma Donoghue

This latest novel by Emma Donoghue follows the life of a 79 year old man, Noah, who is planning a trip to Nice, France to explore his past when he is contacted by child services as the nearest relative to his great-nephew, Michael. Michael's father, Noah's nephew, died of a drug overdose, his mother was in jail accused of selling drugs, and his grandmother (mom's mom) who had been caring for him had just died. Noah is also alone - his wife died years ago, his sister (Michael's grandmother) is dead, and he doesn't seem to have many other close connections.

He is reluctant to take on an 11 year old boy, but duty calls and he takes Michael with him to Nice. Their relationship slowly develops and at the same time they try to discover what Noah's mother did during WWII. Noah has recently found a packet of photographs in his deceased sister's belongings that his mother took during the war. They use the seemingly banal photos to piece together a story of the role his mother played in rescuing Jewish children during WWII.

I really enjoyed reading this book. There are several plot points that were a bit of a stretch, but I liked it anyway. The relationship between Noah and Michael is unusual but moving, and I really cared what happened to them.

Original publication date: 2019
Author’s nationality: Irish
Original language: English
Length: 352 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: library hardback
Why I read this: like the author

65AlisonY
Feb 16, 4:24am Top

>61 japaul22: shame. It always feels hard to abandon a book when you've invested in a lot of page reading, but I'm with you - life's too short, and there are too many other books out there.

66japaul22
Yesterday, 3:56pm Top

#10 To Bed with Grand Music by Marghanita Laski
Oh my. This 1946 novel turns the image of the dutiful wife waiting patiently for her husband to come home on its head. When Deborah's husband goes off to war leaving her in the countryside with their 2 year old son, Deborah finds herself hopelessly bored. She finds a housekeeper/nanny for her son and takes a job and flat in London, coming home only on the weekends. While in London, she finds man after man to sleep with and buy her things, hiding her new lifestyle from her husband and son.

I'm no prude, but I was pretty shocked by her behavior. She sleeps with A LOT of different men and accepts a lot of money and gifts. And basically abandons her son. There's conjecture that of course the men who are off at war are sleeping around so why shouldn't she? I get that, but I still wasn't sure what to make of this book.

I liked it from the standpoint of being unexpected and making you think about reality for some women rather than just the conventional notions of what happened to wartime marriages. But it was rather sordid.

Original publication date: 1946
Author’s nationality: British
Original language: English
Length: 197 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Format/Where I acquired the book: persephone subscription
Why I read this: off the shelf

67RidgewayGirl
Yesterday, 4:32pm Top

I'm glad you enjoyed Akin. I was charmed by it.

68auntmarge64
Yesterday, 5:54pm Top

>49 japaul22:. I had pretty much the same reaction to The Hills Reply, and that story of the man who decides to drown himself has really sick with me. But his two novels are the best, that's for sure, especially The Birds. I'll be following your reading this year.

Group: Club Read 2020

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